Ralph Kisor

1937 ~ 2024 

Obit Photo Ralph Kisor

Captain Ralph Edward Kisor, age 86, passed away on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. His last days were spent in Eau Claire, Wisconsin under the care of Beehive Homes and St. Croix Hospice.

   Ralph was born on March 12, 1937, in Chillicothe, Ohio to Clarence and Ruth (Milstead) Kisor. The family was later joined by his brother Ronald and sister Betty Ann. In the spring of 1955 Ralph graduated from North Robinson High School; North Robinson is a small town located 7 miles east of Bucyrus, Ohio. After graduation he enlisted in the United States Air Force, forgoing a scholarship at Ohio State University.  He served as a Radio Intercept Analysis Operator at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska until 1959. 

Obit Photo Ralph Kisor3

   Thereafter Ralph pursued a lifelong interest in flying by earning his FAA Private Pilot License and flying ‘The Alaskan Bush’ while employed by a guide service. His first immersion in the airline world came in May of 1963 when he was initially hired by Northwest Airlines as an equipment service mechanic and to later serve the airline at Anchorage (ANC) Airport as a radio mechanic.   

   Four years later, on June 12, 1967, after undergoing more civilian flight training, Ralph was rehired by NWA as a pilot candidate. He was trained for his initial crew assignment as a second officer on the Boeing 720/320 at Seattle. His career progression started with second officer on the 707 series to a copilot upgrade on the 727, his first captain upgrade was on the Boeing 727. As his career progressed, in addition to the 727, Ralph flew captain on the Boeing 757 and 747 Classic. Concurrent with his airline career, Ralph evolved and succeeded as a farmer in west central Wisconsin. The commute to MSP for his primary job was reasonable and he and Ann enjoyed the rural lifestyle.

Obit Photo Ralph Kisor2

  In 1997 Ralph faced mandatory retirement at age 60. He put his flight bag away for good to be replaced by farm implements. In addition to farming, Ralph often flew his Aviat Husky airplane from his rural Eleva, Wisconsin home airstrip and the Strum Airport. He was active in the EAA 509 Chapter in Eau Claire and received the Chapter Service Award in 2009 for coordinating Young Eagle flights introducing aviation to the next generation of flyers. Ralph flew over 100 Young Eagles in his tenure with the EAA program.

Obit Photo Ralph Kisor4

   Ralph was also engaged in farming and forestry management of his Eleva farmstead where he loved to hike, watch his newly planted trees thrive, and create nesting for the numerous birds and wildlife surrounding him. Ralph also enjoyed spending some winter months in Sun City Festival, Arizona and after 2010 learning the wonders of the Grand Canyon State from his uncle Earl Milstead. In time Alzheimer’s put an end to Ralph’s flying and sent him onto a different course in life. The struggle with Alzheimer's was long and hard.

    Ralph is survived by his wife, Ann Kisor, his ex-wife and mother of his children Donna Kisor, his children Fawn Master (Jim), Trish Kisor, and daughter-in-law Denise Kisor; grandchildren Jake Master, Mike Master, Amber Kisor, Dustin Kisor, and great grandchildren Noah and Beckett Fales as well as several loving nieces and nephews and extended family. Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, his brother and sister and his son Steven.

A burial and Celebration of Life will be held in June, 2024.

(-Kisor Family and Bill Day)